Aspects that Arise in the Transition from the Montessori Method to a Traditional Method: A Fourth Grade Mathematics View
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The purpose of the dissertation is to investigate three particular aspects that may affect the transition between a third grade Montessori system and a fourth grade non-Montessori system, specifically within the context of teaching and learning mathematics. These aspects are 1) the change in pacing and structure of the classroom, 2) the removal of manipulatives from the learning experience in favor of handwriting methods, and 3) the reversal of roles that teachers and students occupy. The effect of this transition on problem-solving skills is analyzed through a series of problem-solving exercises to determine mathematical understanding about key concepts within the curriculum. Results show that students identify alternative strategies when uncertain how to proceed in a problem. Students revert to previous object-centered methods when a problem is perceived as too difficult. Students also need more exposure with materials for difficult topics during the Montessori ages. The use of manipulatives is one of the most influential aspects of the transition, followed by the shift in student and teacher roles. The pacing and structure of the classroom has minimal effect on the transition.